From wrestler to veteran politician – Life and times of ‘Netaji’ Mulayam Singh Yadav

Oct 10, 2022

By: Eetika Kapoor

2. One of 6 children

Yadav was born in 1939 in Saifai village in Uttar Pradesh, to Sughar Singh and Murti Devi. He has four brothers — Ratan Singh Yadav, Abhay Ram Yadav, Rajpal Singh Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav, and a sister Kamla Devi.

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3. Inspired by freedom fighter Ram Manohar Lohia

Yadav got involved in politics at the age of 15. He later contested from Nathu Singh’s seat on his party’s ticket. He was also inspired by the teachings of freedom fighter and socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia.

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4. First electoral victory in 1967

Yadav tasted his first electoral win in 1967, when he won a seat in the Uttar Pradesh state legislative assembly representing Jaswantnagar constituency as part of the Samyukta Socialist Party. He also became president of Lok Dal Party in 1977.

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5. Arrested during emergency

Yadav was one of the many politicians arrested during the Emergency period. He was imprisoned for 19 months.

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6. Ayodhya gave a new lease of life to Yadav

The demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992 made him a central figure in UP politics. This was also the year he formed the Samajwadi Party (SP), based on socialist ideals.

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7. Tenure as UP CM

Yadav served three times as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He took oath as the 15th CM of UP in 1989 and positioned himself as a leader of other backward castes (OBCs) in the state. He held the position for a total of 6 years and nine months.

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8. India’s 21st defence minister

Yadav also served as India’s 21st defence minister from June 1996 to March 1998. He served as defence minister in the coalition governments of former PMs – HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.

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9. Family life

Mulayam Singh Yadav was husband to Malti Devi, who passed away in 2003, after being in a vegetative state since 1974 following childbirth complications. He married Sadhana Gupta later and she too passed away in July 2022. He left active politics in 2019 and handed over reins to son Akhilesh Yadav.

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10. Family feud

Transfer of power in the Yadav family turned controversial when he chose his son Akhilesh Yadav to be the chief minister in 2019. Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav later fought for the control of the party.

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11. Passed away due to kidney complications

Mulayam Singh Yadav was admitted to Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital following a kidney failure. He had been in and out of hospitals for treatments but was in a serious condition since August.

Credit: BCCL

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